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The Fish Tank: Strixhaven Edition (April 11-18, 2021)


Welcome back to The Fish Tank, the series where we sneak a peek at sweet viewer-submitted decks and maybe, with our powers combined, turn them into real, fun, playable lists! This week, we get a first look at some decks featuring new Strixhaven cards, with offerings for Standard, Pioneer, Modern, and even Commander! What cool ideas did you all send in this week? Let's find out! But first, to have your own deck considered for next week's edition (and for our Fishbowl Thursday Instant Deck Tech), make sure to leave a link in the comments, or email it to me at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com. 

Standard

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We don't get combo decks in Standard very often, at least not competitive ones, but the printing of Grinning Ignus in Strixhaven means there's a chance that combo is returning to Standard! RookerKdag's Jeskai Infinites, as its name suggests, has several ways to go infinite. Perhaps the easiest combo is Birgi, God of Storytelling with Grinning Ignus. With both on the battlefield, we can bounce and replay Grinning Ignus an infinite number of times for free, which gains us infinite life with Daxos, Blessed by the Sun or makes infinite mana with Storm-Kiln Artist. If that's not enough, we can also make a bunch of copies of Shipwreck Dowser by repeatedly Shocking or Spikefield Hazarding it with an Orvar, the All-Form on the battlefield for a weird Standard-legal imitation of Splinter Twin. The only drawback is that the combos aren't really related in any way. It might be that Orvar Combo and Birgi / Ignus combo would be more competitive in separate decks. But either way, the deck looks like a blast to play, and it's really sweet to see combo potentially returning to Standard!

Historic

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While one of the big goals of The Fish Tank is to give people a place to show off their sweet ideas and cool brews, another goal is for the community to help improve the decks that are featured. A couple of weeks ago, we looked at a Thassa's Oracle / Tainted Pact combo deck for Historic. Well, today, Fish Tank all-star Kelvin-escesare has another take on the archetype, driven by going deep on the math and stats (the deck is mostly Quandrix, so this probably counts as a flavor win). The write-up for the deck is so solid and in-depth that I'm not even going to try to summarize it. Instead, here's Kelvin-escesare's analysis:

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We've seen Young Pyromancer decks be pretty popular and powerful in Historic. Well, now, thanks to Strixhaven, we have a new twist on the archetype from dudeium: Velomachus Reanimator! In the early game, the deck looks a lot like Mardu Pyromancer. We've got Young Pyromancer and Sedgemoor Witch, backed by cheap discard and card filtering like Faithless Looting. What makes the deck unique is that thanks to Faithless Looting and Magmatic Channeler, we can also stock our graveyard quickly, which allows us to use Unburial Rites or our one Blood for Bones (likely sacrificing a token from Young Pyromancer or Sedgemoor Witch) to reanimate Velomachus Lorehold for hasty damage and a free spell from the top seven cards of our deck, giving us some random card advantage and a way to close out the game quickly in the air. Thanks to all of our token production, we also get to take advantage of another new Strixhaven card—Awaken the Blood Avatar—which we should be able to cast for two mana pretty easily, giving us more hasty damage and a Diabolic Edict. While the Avatar token is weak to Fatal Push specifically, the fact that it comes down with haste helps make up for this, to some extent. While I have no idea what the Historic meta will look like post-Strixhaven—the Mystical Archives are going to shake up the format in a significant way—the deck looks really solidly built and like it could be pretty powerful, especially if we can dodge graveyard hate like Grafdigger's Cage!

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Jadzi, Oracle of Arcavios is one of the splashiest cards in Strixhaven. While it costs an ungodly amount of mana and you really need to untap with it on the battlefield to get full value, if you do manage to untap with it in a deck full of spells, you should have a really, really good turn. Biggestmtgnerd is looking to have this turn in Historic. The main goal is to use Explore, Growth Spiral, Eureka Moment, and Escape to the Wilds to ramp into Jadzi, Oracle of Arcavios as quickly as possible and then start casting cheap spells to trigger Jadzi, Oracle of Arcavios in order to let us cast more spells until we eventually go through most or all of our deck and win with a massive Experimental Overload token. While I'm sure it's probably more competitive to ramp into Ugin, the Spirit Dragon or Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, the crazy things Jadzi, Oracle of Arcavios can do makes it a much more fun ramp finisher. While the current list looks fun, I do have a couple of suggestions. First, running a copy of Thud or Kazuul's Fury seems like a great way to finish the game immediately with the massive Experimental Overload token. It also could be worth considering a sweeper or two. While targeted removal like Abrade and Shock is solid, something like Anger of the Gods or Storm's Wrath seems like it would be helpful against go-wide aggro decks. Finally, Magma Opus seems perfect for the deck. In the early game, it ramps us into Jadzi, Oracle of Arcavios, with its Treasure-making discard ability, Then, once we have Jadzi on the battlefield, being able to cast Magma Opus for one mana seems pretty powerful! 

Modern

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Finally, in Modern, we have a deck built around everyone's favorite Elephant, Quintorius, Field Historian, from Noah M.! The main goal is to get some cards in our graveyard, stick a Titans' Nest, and then follow it up with Quintorius, Field Historian. With both cards on the battlefield, every card in our graveyard represents a free instant-speed 3/2, allowing us to immediately build a lethal board of Spirits. Even if our opponent has instant-speed removal to kill Quintorius, Field Historian, it'll be too late—we can simply exile a bunch of cards to Titans' Nest in response to the removal to make Spirits! The rest of the deck might look a bit strange, but it's designed to do two things: fill our graveyard, with cards like Witherbloom Command, Forbidden Alchemy, and Life from the Loam, and find our primary combo pieces, with Gifts Ungiven. Thanks to Eternal Witness and Unburial Rites, we can cast Gifts Ungiven and guarantee that the end result is that we'll end up with a Quintorius, Field Historian along with a pile of Eternal Witness, Unburial Rites, Quintorius, and something else. Plus, if we already have our combo, we can use Gifts Ungiven for value to find removal, Time Warp, or whatever else we might need to stabilize long enough to win with our Spirit tokens! The main drawback is that graveyard hate is really good against the deck. Something like Rest in Peace or Leyline of the Void would leave us in a position where we are mostly trying to beat down with Eternal Witness or Quintorius, Field Historian for the win, which seems unlikely. But we do have answers like Witherbloom Command and Rip Apart, which should help us fight through the hate. Just how good the deck is remains to be seen, but the combo is super spicy, and it does seem like it should easily win the game if we can dodge the hate!

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for this week! If you have any ideas about how to improve these decks, make sure to let us know in the comments, and if you have a deck you want to be considered for a future Fish Tank, leave that there as well! Thanks to everyone who sent in decks this week! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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